Oh those Americans and their silly budget showdowns. As some observers say, these confrontations have come to resemble kabuki theatre.
Sequestration is scheduled to take effect on March 1, a mere week away. Budgets get cut about 10%. The effects may not be terminal overall but some government projects could be hard hit. The US Air Force is warning that means the F-35 programme might have to be restructured.
The entire Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme may have to be restructured if the Pentagon budget undergoes the full 10 year effects of sequestration.
Under the Congressional sequestration budgetary maneuver, the US Department of Defense's coffers would be automatically cut across the board by 10% every year for 10 years. That is on top of the $487 billion that has already been cut from the spending plan.
If the full sequestration were to take effect, "we're going to have to look completely at the [F-35] programme," US Air Force chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh told the Senate Armed Services Committee on 12 February. "It's going to be impossible to modernize."
What this would mean for America and her allies is that apparently we wouldn't be able to operate quite so well in "contested airspace", which essentially means Chinese airspace. This is how General Welsh puts it:
"Our kick in the door capability would be impacted."
Did you get that? Our capability to kick in China's door would be impacted. And that's a bad thing. With China already re-arming furiously we wouldn't be able to make them quite as fearful that we might launch pre-emptive war on them.
That's what the F-35 is, it's a light attack bomber, it creates a "kick in the door capability." Now does Canada really need a kick in the door capability? Do we need to prepare and equip ourselves to kick in China's door? Really?
Let's carry this scenario through a little bit. If we kick in China's door, what do we have in mind just in case China decides to respond in kind? Since we're only going to have light attack bombers, what are we going to do if China gets really mad and decides to kick in our door? We don't have diddly squat to protect ourselves. Maybe the Americans would protect us, maybe not.
Here's the deal. Canada has enough to worry about just defending Canada. Big country, small population, small military budget. We don't need to focus on exhausting our military purse on "kick in the door" technology. That's just plain stupid. It might appeal, a lot, to Sideshow Steve and Airshow MacKay but they're boneheads, complete idiots when it comes to shooting up stuff.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.
It's one thing to waste a decade playing whack-a-mole against a gaggle of illiterate farmers wielding Korean war-vintage assault rifles. It's quite another to sucker punch someone really big and powerful who would probably do what people who are sucker punched do.